Aisle vs. Isle – The Correct Way to Use Each

Aisle vs. Isle – What’s the Gist?

  • Aisle is a walkway between seats or shelves. You find aisles in grocery stores, shopping malls, and movie theaters.
  • Isle is a small island or peninsula. The British Isles is a good example.

Continue reading for a more in-depth discussion of these two words.


aisle versus isle

If you are going on a relaxing vacation to a tropical paradise, is your destination more likely to be an isle, or an aisle? On the other hand, when you are looking for your favorite type of mustard at the grocery store, could you find it in aisle 5, or on isle 5?

Since these two words are pronounced identically when spoken aloud, but do not mean the same thing, they are homophones. English has many homophones. It can be difficult to remember them all, so even experienced writers sometimes make mistakes.

What is the Difference Between Aisle and Isle?

In this article, I will compare isle vs. aisle. I will use each of these words in at least one example sentence.

Plus, at the end of the post, I will show you a helpful memory tool that you can use to remind yourself whether you are writing about an aisle or isle.

How to Use Aisle

Definition of aisle: An aisle is a walkway between seats or shelves in a building. This word is a noun.

Aisles are important features of many environments, from concert halls to airplanes to grocery stores.

Here are a few examples,

  • “Cleanup on aisle four!” said the grocery store attendant over the intercom system.
  • “Do you prefer window seats or aisle seats when you fly?” asked Carissa.
  • The worshippers concluded their prayers and began to file into the aisles.

An airplane has aisles in between the seats. Note that both words start with the letters “AI.”

In Congress, when referring to the “other side,” people refer to the other side of the aisle.

How to Use Isle

Definition of isle: Isle is also a noun. An isle is a small island or peninsula. Isles can be found all over the world.

See the following example sentences,

  • The Russian spy went into hiding somewhere in the British Isles.
  • The British Isles contain isles called Isle of Wight and Isle of Man.
  • When I became wealthy, I bought my own private isle and populated it with several species of rare tropical songbirds.

Outside Examples of Aisle vs. Isle

  • President Trump’s decision to launch missiles against a Syrian airfield on Thursday night is winning the support of politicians across the aisle and across the oceans. –The Wall Street Journal
  • The incidents typically don’t escalate to violence, as in the case of the United Airlines passenger who was dragged into the aisle and off the plane after he refused to give up his seat on Sunday. –The Washington Post
  • Another retreat, located some 50 miles farther east, is a 1.1-acre private isle named Potato Island — also in the Sound — that’s reached only by boat. –New York Post
  • He shared that he recently moved to a beach house on Isle of Palms, a barrier island near the city, and is renting out his downtown home to escape the constant cycle of partying. –Forbes

Aisle or Isle? When to Use Which

These homophones have caused more than a few embarrassing mistakes for writers. You don’t have to be one of them though—there is a simple way to know whether you are writing about an isle or aisle.

Isle and island both begin with the letter I. As long as you can keep this simple spelling similarity in mind as you write, you should always be able to choose between these words correctly.


Should I use aisle or isle? Aisle and isle are homophones, which means they have different meanings even though they are pronounced the same.

  • An aisle is a walkway between rows of something, usually seats or shelves.
  • An isle is a small island or peninsula.

Since an isle is a small island, and those words each between with the letter I, choosing isle to refer to this geographical feature should not cause you much trouble in the future.

Homophones and other confusing words can make writing seem difficult, but you have a number of powerful tools at your disposal. Be sure to check this site any time you have questions about homophones or other confusing writing topics.